Altus Dynamics Blog

The key to a successful project - leading from the top

Posted by Colin Dickinson on Oct 29, 2013 5:00:00 PM

One of the most dramatic lessons we’ve learned over decades of serving the nonprofit and public sector is the importance of an effective team.

In much the same way, the effectiveness of a team is a critical success factor when it comes to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementations. The implementation team helps create the ERP implementation plan, contributes to the overall solution goals and vision, works with the partner on data conversion, and is also involved in establishing the format of ERP reports and other key outputs.

Keys to success for an ERP project – the effective team

An effective ERP implementation team with clear goals is the foundation of a successful implementation project. It’s important to build an internal team that includes the people who helped select the ERP, along with an executive sponsor, representation from across the organization, as well as other senior management and internal leaders.

We’ve found that effective ERP implementations start with a team fully engaged in the process. Executive level leadership and engagement is key to the success of an ERP project. This means pulling together a talented Project Manager, executive oversight and subject matter experts from areas like finance, purchasing, human resources, payroll and CRM capabilities like client management, case management, donor management, grant management and member management.

4 ERP Implementation Keys to Success

Over time and as a result of many completed projects, we’ve noted these key success factors when it comes to the ERP selection team.

1. An Emphasis on Project Management
Due to the nature of an ERP implementation, the team must be led by a person with the project management front of mind. A dedicated individual manager can make the difference between success and failure. More than a part-time task master, the project manager provides leadership for a) accountability, b) transparency and c) decisiveness. We advise our clients that the entire ERP implementation team should keep a focus on excellent project management techniques.

2. A Commitment to Apply the Appropriate Resources
Public sector organizations must apply significant internal and external resources for ERP implementations. From data migration to user training, from a phased pilot to “go live” deployment, the correct vendor, consultant and internal business user resources are critical. We see many companies underestimate the required resources especially during critical phases of the project. We advise our clients to never trivialize the scope and scale of an ERP implementation. Success follows, when an organization allocates the proper amount of time and resources.

3. A Focus on Change Management
An ERP implementation brings with it change for the entire organization. The team sets the pace in implementing ERP for lasting operational change within an organization.

4. A Focus on Education
This point can’t be stressed enough. An ERP solution is only as good as an end-user’s ability to operate it. The team must design workshops and instruction to teach all types of users how to utilize the system to its full potential. Our implementation experts often suggest short, targeted training sessions. This allows users the time to try what they have learned and to develop ideas for process modifications and system optimization.

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This Post Was Written By Colin Dickinson
Colin Dickinson is the CEO and managing partner at Sparkrock. Given his business and accounting knowledge, Colin provides valuable insight as well as strong comprehension as to how Sparkrock can help organizations address their individual business challenges. He is passionate about the non-profit community and regularly contributes to local youth based non-profits by volunteering his time and fundraising.
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